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Possible Screw Touching Nerve After fusion

Liz49LLiz49 Posts: 39
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:47 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had L4/5 fusion 9/29, TLIF. All went well but one leg was numb after surgery, eventually becoming painful. It's definitely nerve pain. This leg was 100% fine before surgery.

I saw the Dr's. Fellow last week and he told me that a monitor showed that one of the screws indicated it was irritating a nerve during the surgery. Because I have small bones they were afraid to take the screw out due to possible vertebrae cracking. The surgeon tried to move the screw a little so as to relieve the nerve and the nerve monitor showed that he had achieved this goal.

But why the nerve pain in my left leg??? The Fellow put me on Lyrica and said if that doesn't work after 2 weeks he'll give me a steroid pack. If that doesn't work, I don't know the next step. The Fellow would not say! I'm praying this works but so very afraid it won't. My guess would be I'd have to wait at least 1 year and then they'd remove the screw.

Any thoughts on this issue? Thanks friends.



  • I have a similiar issue but Im 1 year after surgery and have the left leg issues. Im a small frame male 39 and 140 lbs and have small bones. I felt pretty good after surgery for the first 2 months and then left leg/hip started having issues. Went to therapy they couldnt work it out...doc said he hoped it wasnt a nerve but thought it was soft tissue. went on sevarl muscle relaxers and more therapy,,still same issue. Also had steriod pack, injections and still same issue. The last three weeks have been worse...having radiating pain down left leg, leg twitches, toes twitching, no pain medicine is working. Doc set me up with another doc to get series (3) injections....this doc wants to do a EMG nerve test to see if and witch nerve is the issue...he says the emg and ncs will tell if a nerve is touching or damaged? You read my long post on 12 months after surgery to see my issues with the surgery.
  • luckypenny,

    Is your fusion healed? Is there a chance of non-union? My doctor had told me that the symptoms I'm having (similar to what yours sounds to be) are indications of non-union. He also said that if I had relief for some time after surgery and things get worse it indicates a non-union. I had about 3 weeks relief and then the hip pain started and now the numbness in my left foot is getting worse and my left leg is starting to go numb with some shooting pains. My top left pedicle screw is hitting the joint at L3/L4 and am having the hardware removed and exploratory surgery to see if there is a union or not from the fusion at L4/L5.

  • I am curious about this as well. I have been having horrible pain post-fusion. All that has ever done was x-rays.

    My surgeon sent me in for an EMG last month, but hasn't scheduled me for a CT or an MRI. After reading about everyone's experience, an MRI or CT was standard.

    I went to the ER for some saddle numbness a couple of weeks ago, and finally had an MRI. When the ER doc was telling me the results, he kept repeating "I can't tell you, you need to talk with your surgeon" over and over.

    This weekend, I went to the hospital to get the results on my own, and read the MRI report. It says that I have a pedicle screw penetrating a nerve bundle in S1.

    After looking at the MRI pics, I was unnerved to actually see it. The first image is how it appears on the MRI. The 2nd is enhanced to see the actual screws.


  • It took me a minute to see that but that screw is as clear as anything!

    Hi Liz-I hope the injection helps. Take care.
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • In the UK on National Health Service - to coin a phrase, it grinds exceedingly slow but fine. Had x ray five years ago which indicated minor slippage of L4/5 vertebrae, probably an old injury. Over the years, osteoarthritis had developed in facet joints, added to spinal cord compression,etc. Five years after x ray, NHS finally okayed MRI which revealed alarming picture. Was due for spinal decompression surgery but went for a second opinion privately. Then early 2010 had serious still undiagnosed neurological illness (bi-lateral facial paralysis) still on steroids. In August lumbar spine melted down and finally had steroid injections in three facet joint plus epidural last Friday. Saturday was worst pain day ever. No relief since then. Felt like injections were too high up as pain is across lower back to saddle, mainly right buttock, leg, calf, upper foot. They shoot horses don't they? Left leg minimal but lately deep spasms in left calf and foot and bearable pain. I'm supposed to do intense physio. In my dreams.

    Next step is L4/5 fusion. Yea or nay? I walk like the Hunchback of Notre Dame, and if I stay on my feet for longer than ten minutes, pain is off the charts. Nothing cuts the pain except (alcohol which separates brain from body) lying supine so at least after taking meds I can sleep through the night. Work? You must be joking!!
  • Sorry to hear you're having pain even after injections. I had injections last Thursday and I had to ask the PM Dr. to give nerve blocks in the hip and upper butt and SI joints as well as facets. I hope you get some relief soon. Take care and hope to see another post to get more responses.

    <------my stuff create content or forum topic. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
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